A FRIENDLY DECEMBER CHALLENGE

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Written by Mark Cares

The month of December is unique. What other month is so devoted to holidays and preparing for them? Even before December 1st, there’s a whole lot of focus on Christmas – a focus that only intensifies right up to Christmas Day. Christmas trees and decorations need to be put up. Gifts need to be bought. Cookies need to be baked. Family visits need to be planned. Christmas programs and songs need to be practiced.

Then Christmas comes. But that doesn’t mean the hustle and bustle is over. Often there are still family activities during the next week.  This is followed by parties on New Year’s Eve and football on New Year’s Day.

 

December is a busy month. So busy that most people try to cut out some activities rather than add some.

Therefore, I’m taking a risk in offering you a friendly challenge to do something this December you probably have never done before.  And that is to go out of your way and invite a couple of Mormon missionaries into your house.

Christmas can be an extremely lonely time for them. They are away from home and family. In some places, the local Mormons invite them to participate in some Christmas activities. But in many places, they don’t. On top of that, most of the time, the missionaries are still expected to work on making appointments – even on holidays!

More and more, Christians are taking the opportunity afforded by Christmas to display Christian love to the missionaries. I know of one couple who had the missionaries help them place ornaments on their Christmas tree – and then took the time to explain the Christian symbolism behind some of them. Just last week, a man told me how some missionaries jumped at his invitation to attend Christmas Eve services with him at his church. (He invited them after they shared with him how they had to try and schedule appointments for Christmas Eve.) Others have invited sister missionaries to bake Christmas cookies with them. The ideas are endless.

But thinking of some way to connect with missionaries is so meaningful.  As we show them Christian love the missionaries become much more willing to listen to our Christmas message – the message of Jesus who came as our Substitute and not our Example. And they won’t just be willing to listen on one visit. They will be willing, even eager, to repeatedly return and talk more.

So this is my challenge to you. If the examples above are too intimidating for you, don’t worry. At the very least, when you see missionaries out and about, stop and talk with them. Invite them to stop by your house because you have a plate of cookies for them (or something similar). That simple act could open the door to many future discussions. And if it does, remember we are here for you – to coach you every step of the way.

May this December be a unique one for you. A December in which you build a bridge to some Mormon missionaries.

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